Lori and Angelo Sorrentino Travel Writer & Photographer www.travlinmad.com travel around the world to promote on their blog trips and travel experiences that convey a (not only) food and wine culture that suits the slogan “Eat Local Travel Slow” , in other words, genuine, authentic, unconventional, honestly local gastronomy and trips.
Last September Lori ed Angelo came back to the Emilia-Romagna region and together explored the town of Modena and the area in its highest “Eat Local” expression, thus enjoying some food and wine experiences.
Promoting a place means to us creating a network of partnerships and this can happen only if the same values and ideas are shared! “Questione di Feeling” we would say in Italian. We really found this synergy with Travlinmad.
Our Artisanal Food Tours are designed to be food experiences that tell about the locals, tell about the true gastronomy of our region. Guests must feel like at home even if they are not, they must be welcomed in our big family, which is what Italians are famous for.
Now more than ever, hospitality must be excellent and honest to meet the expectations of an increasing number of foodies and food-trotters landing in Bologna, or visiting Modena, Parma, and Emilia-Romagna, to taste “Italy’s Greatest Gastronomic Treasure” as quoted by Journalist David Rosengarten in Forbes magazine in 2013. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/drosengarten/2013/11/28/italys-greatest-gastronomic-treasure-emilia-romagna-the-secrets-behind-the-secret/)
So, we have played the role of the “Italian Cicerone” the tour guide, the gastronomic mentor and shared with Travlinmad some of our culinary experiences and private food tours.
First of all, I should speak in the first person, because it was a personal and human experience. I had fun! I can say I have made new friends overseas! Lori and Angelo, partners in life and business, – I would say they share the same passion for traveling, wine and food – are very easygoing people. They are professionals, always respectful and attentive – Sweet Lori, funny Angelo!
After this long due introduction, let’s finally talk about “What to Eat and What do Drink in Modena”.
Most food lovers globally know Modena for hosting restaurant OSTERIA FRANCESCANA www.osteriafrancescana.it by Chef Massimo Bottura, which has ranked first twice in the esteemed “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants”. Modena is the beloved town of tenor Maestro Luciano Pavarotti, and it is where the red color means prestigious Ferrari brand.
The story starts in the historical centre where Lori and Angelo have taken our Walking Food Tour, among yellow and blue buses (Modena’s colors too J), bikes, local food stores and “redzore” (dialect word meaning housewives) who do the shop at the historical food market Mercato Albinelli.
The Albinelli market was our starting point – uhh, right after Modena style breakfast with Cappuccino & Gnocco Fritto, to taste two famous products of the Modenese gastronomy such as Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (that foreign people would expect to find only in Parma, whereas the whole province of Modena is included in the DOP -Designation of Protection- area of origin) and DOP Traditional Balsamic Vinegar, the golden black of Modena.
In the market area, it was worthy to be a bit squeezed inside a tiny but very Modenese bar named Bar Schiavoni famous among the locals for making delicious Panini but also for reminding customers to take it slow. “NO ANSIA” (No rush) is in fact written on the counter; enjoy your Panini and enjoy waiting for it is the message they convey. Again, it was more than worthy to wait for tasting “Panino al Cotechino” bred with Cotechino, a traditional large pork sausage requiring slow cooking usually served in winter, especially on Christmas day, green sauce and balsamic vinegar.
If we talk about the gastronomy of Modena or (the biggest and closest gastronomic competitor Bologna, Tortellini is the keyword. We tried “Tortellino da Passeggio” the Tortellini version “on the go” that one can have while having a pleasant walk in the centre, like the Tortelloni or the Panino al Ragù, other examples of Modena street food. If you are a Tortellino Fan, we are glad to say that we are soon launching a new food experience called “TORTELLINO TRIO” – dedicated to Lori and Angelo as they have created the slogan for us, which will include an outsider Tortellino made in leather, not to eat but to make as real leather artisans. Soon available on our website!
Because Halloween is getting closer, we should sing “Trick or Treat: Give me something nice and sweet….” Or we could say “Modena, where can we taste the nicest sweets”? The answer is Amaretti, Erbazzone dolce di Modena and Torta Ricciolina at one of the oldest pastry places along Via Emilia Centro: Antica Pasticceria San Biagio.
From “Eat Local” to “Drink Local”, let’s talk about semi-sparkling wines. The Emilia region is famous for fine bubble wines. Modena’s most popular wine is red sparkling Lambrusco, which is a perfect match for Gnocco, cured meats, and Tigelle modenesi.
One of the main challenges for Modena’s wine makers is to let people abroad know that today Lambrusco is a high-quality wine resulting from wineries’ efforts to reverse the bad reputation of “sweet, cheap and inexpensive wine” due to the huge quantities of Lambrusco wines exported by big Italian producers in the 70s.
Did you know that there are at least 3 main grape varieties and wines under the DOC certification of Lambrusco? Lambrusco di Sorbara, Salamino di Santa Croce, and Grasparossa di Castelvetro.
So, we drove towards the beautiful hills of Medieval village Castelvetro di Modena to taste a selection of Lambrusco wines offered by Fattoria Moretto. Tasting was only part of our tour, because we really wandered around the hills, among Medieval castles and vineyards in Castelvetro and Levizzano, accompanied by two very special Ciceroni: Angelo and Luca Nacchio, creators of “Modena e Dintorni” blog and Social Media Managers of Terre di Castelli www.terredicastelli.eu Thank you for showing us some of the most fascinating views of this area, Luca and Angelo! The eight villages of Unione Terre di Castelli are full of historical attractions and offer unique views from flatland to hills up to the Tuscany-Emilian Apennine mountains.
Eventually, we put our hands in the dough to make fresh egg pasta, the typical Sfoglia Emiliana. Anna was our “sfoglina” pasta maker at her beautiful Agriturismo Fattoria Maria in Soliera www.fattoriamaria.com in the Northern part of Modena. By the traditional rolling pin, we made some of the most popular pasta types of the Emilia Romagna region: Tortellini, Tortelloni, and Maccheroni al Pettine… A traditional cooking class with the added value of seasonal and km-0 ingredients: “Farm to Fork” like most people say. Pumpkins, tomatoes, courgette flowes, Campanina apples and quinces that become tasty jams and chutneys to pair with Gnocco and Tigelle bread, and salami.
This is what we offer in our Farm to Fork experience at a local Agriturismo: learning about local rural life and cooking together with homegrown vegetables and fruits.
“Thank You Thank You” for being with us Travlinmad! It was fun and mutual enrichment. We hope this is just the first step of an interesting Storytelling “book” that we can give our followers about Emilia Romagna. Arrivederci Lori and Angelo!
Katia Perdicaro, Founder of Emilia Storytellers